John Green Gets It

Monday, January 10th, 2011

“This shouldn’t happen in this country, or anywhere else, but in a free society, we’re going to be subject to people like this. I prefer this to the alternative.”

John Green, father of nine-year-old Christina Green, who was killed in Saturday’s Tucson shootings.

After all the partisan, self-serving, asinine commentary of the last two days . . . bless John Green. What remarkable perspective, composure, and clear-thinking in the face of a grief that few of us can imagine. He doesn’t assign blame beyond the person who deserves it. There’s no call for new laws or new restrictions. No, “Who can we fault for not preventing this?” Just obvious grief, fond memories of his daughter, and an understanding that terrible things sometimes happen to good people. It’s enough to restore one’s faith in humanity.

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39 Responses to “John Green Gets It”

  1. #1 |  Matt | 

    I hereby propose “Christina’s Law,” a new law banning the promulgation of idiot laws in the wake of unpreventable tragedies. Err, wait…

  2. #2 |  RomanCandle | 

    Nothing else to add except “amen to that”.

  3. #3 |  goober1223 | 

    Was this spoken? It appears poorly transcribed. If I was writing that statement I would use my poetic license and put a period before “but”. Without it I say it in my head and it sounds like it should happen anywhere else but in a free society, as if freedom is the source of this violence.

    Great quote, though.

  4. #4 |  emily | 

    while i agree with your sentiment, i do find it a bit disconcerting that you say this is enough to restore your faith in humanity. the man’s daughter was senselessly, brutally murdered, i personally am doubting humanity at the moment. nevertheless, i get what you are saying and i am highly impressed with his restraint and composure.

  5. #5 |  James D | 

    I never saw any of your examples in your poll, but heard that idiot Dupnik (Pima County Sheriff) start politicizing the event at the very first press conference on Saturday afternoon … watch out for the new politician protections, silencing of free speech and gun laws.

  6. #6 |  Dante | 

    “What remarkable perspective, composure, and clear-thinking in the face of a grief that few of us can imagine. He doesn’t assign blame beyond the person who deserves it. There’s no call for new laws or new restrictions. No, “Who can we fault for not preventing this?””

    My fear, whenever some crazy-with-a-gun goes nuts, is the old “How can we capitalize politically on this tragedy, and punish the other side?”

    I hope it doesn’t happen in this case.

  7. #7 |  Irving Washington | 

    Radley, it may not surprise you to hear that NPR is running this quote as:

    “This shouldn’t happen in this country, or anywhere else.”

  8. #8 |  roy | 

    I’m stunned that anybody can be that reasonable.

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    Bam! Word. I could not have said it better.

  10. #10 |  EH | 

    Dante: There’s a national Who Farted? looksee going around, don’t tell me anybody needed to hear the sheriff to figure out where to look first.

  11. #11 |  CyniCAl | 

    “This shouldn’t happen in this country, or anywhere else, but in a free society, we’re going to be subject to people like this. I prefer this to the alternative.”

    This shouldn’t, or perhaps possibly even wouldn’t, happen in a healthy society ordered on cooperation instead of violence. As for the “free society,” Mr. Green knows not of what he speaks. Interestingly, he actually lives in what he refers to as “the alternative.”

    All in all, I understand where he was going, and while I’m mincing the words of a grieving father, nonetheless, his is a rather understandably confused view of the world as it is.

    If it’s about the journey and not the destination, about the process and not the result, then I commend Mr. Green for appearing to want to push society toward freedom, as imaginary as that freedom is now.

  12. #12 |  Chris | 

    I am sorry for his loss. Usually I say it as a formality, but that comment is just beautiful in the wake of his loss. Not because of pretty words or poetry (obviously), but because of it’s truth.

  13. #13 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Hmmm…the dad isn’t following the playbook. News Producers will have to debate if they should villify him or ignore him. Ahhh…Sheriff Dupnik saves the day as a figure to torch/praise.

  14. #14 |  Nathan A | 

    If anyone cares to look (I can’t, it’s filtered at work) YouTube has a video of this guy calling in on Fox News where he expresses the same sentiments. Even as he can barely speak due to tears, he manages to relate how he does not want new laws, new regulations, etc.

  15. #15 |  James J.B. | 

    #11

    Much like the story of the muslims in Egypt where they protected the Christians at Christmas mass, this man has also provided hope – I am sorry it comes at such a horrific expense for his family.

    Maybe freedom is a myth – a dream chased by some, and often, in reality, shunned by most. Yet, when a person or person acts to stop the flow of the bad things – it is evidence that all is not lost. Maybe we have a chance of pursuading sense to others.

    Take SWAT raids – R.B. does his best on this site to fight that issue. Posts on youtube are now showing cop abuses. While the masses may look the other way, more and more are looking at these videos and the discussion is changing, despite the best efforts of the mass media.

    Last week, I watched the Capt. Marvel/ Superman vs. Black Adam DVD with my two sons. It was a good DVD, but the lesson of the main character Billiy Batson was great. Batson is a boy who has had so many bad things – his parents died, he was abused at foster home, he was beaten by thugs (when he defended a homeless man during an assault). He talks to Supes (as Kent) and says that maybe he shouldn’t be good anymore. Supes says evil is easy, and you must always do good. Later, Supes even stops Capt. Marvel from killing Adam. Doing good didn’t mean taking a life or being the judge, jury, and executioner. It was a good lesson for life and two young boys on how to help the world. Maybe our future police – hopefully not my 2 :) – will see it and develop the view that you don’t have to hurt/kill the bad guy to win.

    Maybe I am an optimist, but I believe that the blood of free loving people that founded this county remains in our veins – even if dormant at times. It rose to fight against slavery in 1860s. You could look at that and say we had a lot of slaves – maybe the cost of that war was payment for that sin – but the good stood up to fight. Google the story of Hugh C. Thompson, a helicopter pilot in vietnam to see his story.

    Yes, it is bad at times, it will remain so if good people do nothing.

  16. #16 |  SamK | 

    I heard an NPR interview at lunch today where the interviewer kept pegging the guest for sound bites in favor of gun control, like whether the gun could have been purchased at all if the assault weapons ban hadn’t been repealed. The fellow seemed like he held “liberal” beliefs on gun control, but refused to make blanket statements and instead said things like “it’s a very complicated subject and the NRA etc have said that it was ridiculously easy to get around”…I was very pleased with his refusal to play ball, but was really ticked off at the political slant to the interview. I like NPR but some days they need a head check.

  17. #17 |  Tweets that mention John Green Gets It | The Agitator -- Topsy.com | 

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Victor Komparu, FoxArtCultTech and others. FoxArtCultTech said: John Green Gets It http://goo.gl/fb/8NZwW [...]

  18. #18 |  Brandon | 

    Irving, I can’t find anything about what Green said on NPR’s site, can you provide a link?

  19. #19 |  CyniCAl | 

    If all guns were illegal, then only outlaws and LEOs (but I repeat myself) would have guns.

    Why is that adage SO TRUE?! How blind does someone have to be to not get that?

    Thanks for the response, James J.B. Often doing something has the same result (or possibly worse) as doing nothing, but I think focusing on what one can influence (oneself and one’s family, as in your comment) is the most important thing.

  20. #20 |  Mike Healy | 

    I predict that with that quote, Mr. Green’s 15 minutes of [desperately unwanted, I'm sure] fame have been used up.

  21. #21 |  Irving Washington | 

    Brandon, I heard it on Morning Edition during a return from break. I’m not sure if it’s on the site.

  22. #22 |  James J.B. | 

    CynicAl:

    I, too, struggle with the outright evil that those in charge often do. Whether by intent or ineptitude, the goal of trampelling upon liberty seems unimpeded. I am a bit ashamed I even caught myself having no reaction to the shooting of the Congresswoman – b/c every day the gov’t kills, tramples rights, etc. When I thought about it though, I remembered the talk (i.e. speech – as my boys will remember it) I had with my children after the Black Adam movie. I told them that even if bad stuff happens, you have the choice to be good or bad, and you should choose good. I remebered that as I thought about this, and I felt empathy for both her and her family. I also think that we should be different from all of the people who wilfully take our rights away. I am not in that class.

    I wrote to you because I sensed a bit of hopelessness in your post. Right or wrong on my part, I thought I should further the discussion and help. Most people will not engage in political discussions with others. I welcome them. I am never insulting – I just ask questions of the other party…those discussions, like the stories here, have an effect.

    My favorite story from when I was a boy was John Henry – the steel driving man. My dad would tell me that story – of a (black) man that at never gave up. As a white kid, many of my friends never really saw the spark of that story – I did. When my 5th grade teacher said that JH “lost”, I said no he didn’t – he won – b/c he never stopped and never gave up – most importantly when it got tough, he picked up two hammers and fought harder. That story like so many other positive stories, fictional and real, drive me.

    So many people, when bad stuff hits, pack up and go home. They make bad laws, say ridiculous things, blame others and enact poor laws. If you give up, and say freedom is dead, it will be.

    So many times, when it is “dark” it is the brightest light shines which through. This man’s words, at the depth of his own life, are very telling.

    Have a good day!

  23. #23 |  r€nato | 

    it’s quite revealing that so many people read something ‘political’ in Dupnik’s call for civility, which named nobody and no organizations.

    I wonder what you people would say about that bleeding-heart pinko Jesus and his divisive, partisan advice that people forgive one another and turn the other cheek.

  24. #24 |  EH | 

    it’s quite revealing that so many people read something ‘political’ in Dupnik’s call for civility, which named nobody and no organizations.

    Because everybody knows what he’s talking about, which is why there’s such a disingenuous pushback against him.

  25. #25 |  Marty | 

    I don’t see myself being able to be this gracious if I’m in his shoes. my thoughts are with him and his family.

  26. #26 |  James J.B. | 

    23

    Lots of people say unfortunate things at the height of tragedy. I didn’t or won’t bash the sheriff. He may be a good man reacting to an terrible event. That said, there is a memo that those in power use when events like this, 911, etc happen – and then the freedom that we enjoy is limited or destroyed. See most recently the entire TSA matter.

    Somehow, though, there is no countermemo, when cops like Johannes Mesherle (?)shoot an unarmed, nearly handcuffed man, when a baby gets her hand shot off (in Ohio – sorry don’t remember the name), or when the gov’t agents shoot first in other events like Waco, Ruby Ridge, or any of the dozens of other gov’t vs citizen encounters that go wrong. We should just understand that the gov’t has “to break a few eggs..” to get the job done. And most just see it, say nothing, do nothing and move on…

  27. #27 |  John | 

    “Because everybody knows what he’s talking about, which is why there’s such a disingenuous pushback against him.”

    And why does everybody know who he’s talking about?

  28. #28 |  Julian | 

    Japan’s a free country; when’s the last time this happened there? Or in Germany? Or any other democracy with strong anti-gun laws that doesn’t boarder a country, like the US, that refuses to even make it illegal to sell guns to foreign criminals (those Mexican gangs ain’t building those rifles themselves)? I feel for this man’s loss, but the idea that he’s refusal to place blame somehow proves that gun control legislation is unnecessary or pointless is, quite simply, laughable. Handguns exist for only one reason; to kill human beings. that’s why they were invented, and that’s why they’re still made. Treating them like particularly expensive hammers or hand-held automobiles is simply ludicrous.

  29. #29 |  James J.B. | 

    Julian

    So wrong on so many levels. If only we passed more laws, maybe the criminals would just listen. Just because you wish to surrender, the rest of us do not.

    Yes. Guns are meant to kill. Which is the exact purpose they will be used if a burglar ever enters my home. Warning shots are for the movies.

  30. #30 |  JThompson | 

    @Julian: The last time it happened in Japan? Try three months ago.
    A guy went on a spree, shot three people then shot himself.

    If there’s any response to this it should be to try to remove the stigma from mental illness to ensure people get the treatment they need. If the government wants to help, a program* that gives therapy and medication to anyone that wants it along with a campaign to convince people that mentally ill people are people and should be treated as such. Of course we never do anything halfway sane in this country, so fat chance of that. We’re more likely to see a “Don’t shoot at politicians” law along with a huge push to stigmatize mental illness even more than it already is.

    *This is in everyone’s best interest. Whatever your feelings on a national health care system may be. People that can’t get the help they need for mental illness can be time bombs. Getting the treatment/taking the pills should be voluntary, hence the “removing the stigma” line.

  31. #31 |  JThompson | 

    @#30: Damn I wish I could edit that. The shooting in Japan was 15 months ago. Still haven’t adjusted to it being 2011. That wasn’t necessarily the most recent one, just the first one I found. The first one I found for Germany was in March 2009. (16 dead.) Australia: June 2010. England: June 2010.

    Things like this happen no matter how strict your gun laws are.

  32. #32 |  Karl | 

    @#23. This is the same guy who six months ago felt the need to go on the air and
    talk about how the tea party was a bunch of bigots and racists when there was a
    rally here in Tucson. Yes, he’s very concerned about the tenor of political discourse
    and the need for civility.

  33. #33 |  AlgerHiss | 

    Radley, if you don’t go after Sheriff Clarence Dupnik with 10 times the energy you’ve ever gone after Arpaio, you don’t have a hair on your ass: I’ll be done with you and your version of “libertarianism”.

  34. #34 |  Radley Balko | 

    Radley, if you don’t go after Sheriff Clarence Dupnik with 10 times the energy you’ve ever gone after Arpaio, you don’t have a hair on your ass: I’ll be done with you and your version of “libertarianism”.

    See you later, then. What an absurd comparison. There’s a about a mile of daylight between Dupnik’s overwrought statements to the media and the mad abuses of power and mass violations of civil liberties Arpaio has engaged in his entire career. The two aren’t remotely similar.

    Also, don’t tell me what to write about, toughguy.

  35. #35 |  Windy | 

    JThompson, it isn’t only “stigma” that causes some mentally ill/unstable people to stop “taking the pills”. Most bipolar people claim the medication they are prescribed makes them feel like they are walking around in a fog; schizophrenics have similar complaints about their prescribed meds. Also, another reason some stop taking the meds is they are homeless and without the funds to purchase the meds, and then there are others who should be under supervision as they are too out of the loop to remember to take their meds.

  36. #36 |  JThompson | 

    Windy: Yep, I know, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a kid. The drugs are epic suck, especially the antipsychotics. Fog isn’t necessarily the worst of it by a long shot. The main reason I focused on the stigma and access is because those are the things we can actually do something about.

    The side effects are harder to reduce or eliminate. Much of how our brain works isn’t completely understood, and they can’t grind up our brain and throw it in a centrifuge, so it’s hard to say how X drug will work on Y patient. The stigma can be a problem there, too. Many are afraid to go say “Hey, this drug is terrible. Can I try a different one?”.

    It’s a horribly complicated issue that we can probably never completely fix. About the best we’ll ever be able to manage is amelioration, in the general sense and for each patient.

  37. #37 |  CyniCAl | 

    Karl Denninger this morning posted some info about Loughner making multiple death threats over the course of months, maybe years, that the Pima County Sheriff was aware of said threats and did not prosecute, that Loughner has a close relative working for Pima County, etc. It appears that AT BEST the sheriff dropped the ball. At worst, well, who knows, same old American just-us.

    “We’re from the government and we’re here to help!”

  38. #38 |  Piece of shit - Page 3 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum | 

    [...] [...]

  39. #39 |  Herb | 

    “After all the partisan, self-serving, asinine commentary of the last two days . . . ”

    Yeah….from both sides, even the Libertarians who are using this tragedy to pimp their own pet issues.

    As for John Green, kudos for his composure. I wonder, though, if the passage of time won’t erode his current stance. After all, his daughter’s death brought us no closer to a free society, and if that’s price he paid….he got ripped off.

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